Okay, can we get past the race thing when it comes to elections here in the U.S.? As a people, haven’t we risen above such petty squabbles? Haven’t two centuries worth of civil rights taught us race and gender really aren’t qualifications for public office? I guess not. Well…at least not in some circles. Here lately, White men have been getting a bum rap from left-wing academics; the self-appointed protectorates of 21st century America. But, I’m here to say the rest of us can think for ourselves – and that White men aren’t always the enemy.
After all, I’m a mostly White guy myself. Both my grandfathers were White, e.g. Caucasian. My paternal was Spaniard (yes, full-blooded Spanish people are White!), while my maternal was German. And, German is just about as White as you can get; if you get any Whiter than that, you’re not White – you’re albino. Both my grandmothers were mixed Spaniard and Mexican Indian. And, it’s the latter two groups who comprise the contemporary Hispanic population that had such an impact on this year’s presidential elections. They’re the group who have been treated as recent arrivals in America, but – as a people – have actually been here long before the U.S. was born. They’re also the ones who’ve reacted with the same level of racial virulence whenever I mention my German grandfather as the White kids reacted to my Spanish surname when I was in high school – years ago! Yes, some Hispanics – like some Negroes – are as bigoted as a drunken Glenn Beck at a NASCAR rally. Seriously! Who would have thought they’d be my worst adversary? Well, sometimes they are. I’ve been called a “coconut,” which only bothers me because I don’t like coconut. But, I still think it’s kind of funny when Hispanics start talking about “White people” disparagingly. Unless they’re full-blooded Indians, they need to shove a coconut in their self-righteous mouths.
But, consider this. White males helped to build this country and – despite all the racial angst – also helped to break down the walls of segregation. President Harry S. Truman, for example, ended racial segregation in the U.S. military. President John F. Kennedy jumpstarted the modern civil rights movement, and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law. Other White males have done their part to make America a better place for everyone; whether it’s hiring non-Whites for a job other Whites thought they couldn’t or shouldn’t do, or teaching some non-White kid how to read and write. Ignore the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh for a while. They’re not models for the White American male. Most White men are decent, hard-working people who take care of their families and mind their own business. Many of them are part of that 47% that Mitt Romney disparaged. They don’t have houses with elevators for their cars and they can’t afford a luxury yacht.
A few of my closest friends are White males. They’re around my age and they’re tired of being scapegoated for every transgression non-Whites have endured throughout American history. Blacks and Hispanics don’t want to be automatically connected to the more dubious elements of our respective racial groups. I loathe being cast alongside illegal Mexican immigrants, even though México is where my mother and both my grandmothers were born. Most White men, therefore, don’t want to be grouped with the morons who burn crosses on people’s front lawns. White men aren’t slipping into predominantly Black neighborhoods and shoving drugs into the hands of the community’s youth. White men aren’t sneaking onto Indian reservations and surreptitiously exchanging sodas with beer in the convenience stores.
I often view racial discord in the same context as gender. As a 49-year-old man, it’s not my fault women couldn’t vote until 1920, or have a legal abortion until 1973. I wasn’t alive in 1920 and I was only 9 when Roe v. Wade became law. How the hell am I supposed to answer for the transgressions of my male ancestors? I can’t and I won’t! Guilt by association is a precarious thing. It just creates more anger.
In case you’ve forgotten, Barack Obama isn’t necessarily our first Black president; he’s actually our first biracial president. People keep forgetting his Caucasian half. His mother was a White-American, born and raised in the United States. That she fell in love with and married a Negro man in the early 1960s is amazing unto itself. So, if some White folks can’t get past Obama’s Negro side – just as some Black folks can’t get past his Caucasian side – then that’s their problem!
They all need to get over it. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves in the same bucket as 8-track tape players and – pardon the cheap analogy – black and white TVs. We really just need to move beyond that race thing. It’s not helping us anymore. It’s really not. This is the 21st century, and the Human Genome Project has proven we’re all pretty much related on a blood level. And, human blood is only one color. Now, who has a problem with that?!